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Contxts: pros and cons of SMS business cards

Various technologies are seeking to displace business cards, but SMS may have the best chance IF done properly.

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Ditching the traditional business card

“Business cards are so 2007,” says Contxts, a company that uses SMS (text messaging) to exchange business cards. There are no extra apps to download, no shaking of phones or hitting other phones with yours like a lightsaber, no, the tool uses existing text messaging systems built in to all mobile phones built in the last decade.

[ba-pullquote align=”right”]More than a professional social network, they are the way to make meaningful connections while out and about.[/ba-pullquote]The company says they are more than a professional social network, they are the way to make meaningful connections while out and about, and “with the environment in shambles do you really want to be that guy who is handing out chopped up pieces of bleached trees?”

Through text messages, you can exchange all of your professional information, sending your credentials to someone over text immediately, and it keeps your professional contacts organized.

The upside and downside

The upside of using SMS business cards is tremendous – cost savings of no longer printing business cards, you get to wow people when you meet them that all they have to do is text you and they’ll immediately get all of your credentials. Additionally, it is environmentally sensitive, and helps you stay organized, as you get their basic information in return.

[ba-pullquote align=”right”]Later on in the day, the exchange came up, and several people were extremely angry.[/ba-pullquote]The downside is that there is more to explain to a recipient than simply handing them a business card which is not at all threatening. Recently, at a networking event, we came across a young man who was using the Contxts service, and everyone was extremely impressed and enthusiastic to try it out, so after a group of ten texted in the simple code he told us to, we were pleased that we got his information immediately via text. What he failed to explain to everyone, however, is that their phones were sending him information (phone number and whatever name is on caller ID) as well. Later on in the day, the exchange came up, and several people were extremely angry, as there was no explanation that it was an exchange, rather “hey, text me, and it will send you my contact info,” and no way to unsubscribe or opt out of anything, leaving them feeling vulnerable.

That said, if users can properly explain to people that if they text a code, they will be exchanging basic information so that no trees are killed and everyone’s contact info is immediately in each others’ phones. Brilliant if done correctly.

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. JonathanMartin1

    June 10, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    This is one the best article on topic. It is all about marketing and without this you won’t be able to push even the best app. I know a very nice application Rapid Protect – https://www.rapidprotect.net which is a  complex family safety and collaboration mobile applications for all major mobile platforms. It is currently available on all platforms such as iPhone, Android, Blackberry and even J2ME. They have superior web platform as well. Their applications are far superior to anything in the market, but I think, its marketing has not been very good. Rapid protect needs to improve its marketing efforts so that more and more people can know what a wonderful application that team has built.
    Again a great article and must read article for those developing mobile apps.

  2. Mike Vitamvas

    June 11, 2012 at 7:51 am

    The drawback of electronic business cards is that your information can be quickly forgotten.  The advantage of a physical business card is that it can be handed to anyone and people have to touch it.  If you have a boring card then it probably does not make any difference, you’ll be forgotten anyway unless you connect in some other way.  If your card is creative and different and stands out then people will remember your card.  We specialize in creating cards that help people stand out.  The site if anyone wants to check it out is: https://CreativeBusinessCards.me

  3. Saurabh Das

    June 11, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Wait, I can understand how texting a code to a phone number which has been programmed to send you specific information, works. But how does doing that automatically send your own private information without your permission? That would be a security leak of monumental proportions. I don’t buy it. Are we sure that it was merely a text message, and not a “Contxts” app?

  4. abodograph

    June 11, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Besides the privacy problems, it actually seems kind of clunky. Instead of handing a card to someone, I have to make them get out their phone, tell them what number to text to, tell them what code to type in, and after all that, they have to copy/paste my info from the SMS into their contacts. Seems like a case in which the low tech solution is better.

  5. Russell Haskins

    June 11, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Exactly what information does the ‘texter’ send without knowledge? The article is unclear. Obviously they will get your cell phone # but is something else also sent?

  6. AgentGenius

    June 11, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    essentially caller ID – he instantly had peoples’ names and numbers. good idea to update story, we’re on it!

  7. video chat phone

    October 3, 2012 at 7:02 am

    a

  8. video chat phone

    October 3, 2012 at 7:04 am

    The pros and cons are really beneficial for the people who are looking for promotion of the business by using mobile phones sms. I will  bookmark this post and share it with my other friends in the future..

  9. Pingback: 6 stellar SMS services that will make you swoon - AGBeat

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Tech News

What is UI/UX? Take a little time to learn for free!

(TECH NEWS) For the all-time low price of—well, free—Invise gives you the option of learning a few basic UI and UX design techniques.

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Woman browsing web, made easy with UI/UX

There’s no denying the strong impact UI and UX design has on the success of a website, app, or service—and, thanks to some timely altruism, you can add basic design understanding to your résumé for free.

Invise is a self-described beginner’s guide to the UI/UX field, and while they do not purport to deliver expert knowledge or “paid courses”, the introduction overview alone is pretty hefty.

The best part—aside from the “free” aspect—is how simple it is to get a copy of the guide: You enter your email address on the Invise website, click the appropriate button, and the guide is yours after a quick email verification.

According to Invise, their beginner’s guide to UI and UX covers everything from color theory and typography to layout, research principles, and prototyping. They even include a segment on tools and resources to use for optimal UI/UX work so that you don’t have to take any risks on dicey software.

UI—short for “user interface”—and UX, or “user experience”, are two critical design aspects found in everything from websites to app and video game menus. As anyone who has ever picked up an outdated smartphone knows, a janky presentation of options or—worse yet—a lack of intuitive menus can break a user’s experience far faster than slow hardware.

Similarly, if you’re looking to retain customers who visit your website or blog, presenting their options to them in a jarring or unfamiliar way—or selecting colors that clash for your landing page—can be just as fatal as not having a website to begin with.

The overarching problem, then, becomes one of cost. Hiring a design expert is expensive and can be time-consuming, so Invise is a welcome alternative—and, as a bonus, you don’t have to dictate your company’s vision to a stranger and hope that they “get it” if you’re doing your own design work.

2020 probably isn’t the year to break the bank on design choices, but the importance of UI and UX in your business can’t be overstated. If you have time to read up on some design basics and a small budget for a few of the bare-bones tools, you can take a relatively educated shot at putting together a modern, desirable interface.

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Google set to release new AI-operated meeting room kit… and it’s pretty baller

(TECH NEWS) Google’s newest toy is designed to “put people first” by alleviating video and audio issues for conference room meetings.

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Google Meet Series One is a new meeting kit that puts people first.

Remote meetings can be the worst sometimes. The awful video and audio quality are frustrating when you’re trying to hear important details for an upcoming project. Even with the fastest internet connection, this doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to clearly hear or see anyone who’s in the office. But Google is re-imagining conference rooms with their new video conferencing hardware.

Yesterday, the company introduced Google Meet Series One. In partnership with Lenovo, this meeting room kit is made exclusively for Google Meet and is poised to be the hardware that “puts people first.”

The Series One has several components that make it stand out. First is the “Smart Audio Bar,” powered by eight beam-forming microphones. Using Google Edge TPUs, the soundbar can deliver TrueVoice®, the company’s “proprietary, multi-channel noise cancellation technology.” It removes distracting sounds, like annoying finger and foot-tapping noises, so everyone’s voices are crystal clear from anywhere in the room.

The hardware also has 4K smart cameras that allow for high-resolution video and digital PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) effects. Processed with Google AI, the device knows to automatically zoom in and out so all of the meetings’ participants are framed in the camera. With an i7 processor and Google Edge TPUs, the system is built to “handle the taxing demands of video conferencing along with running the latest in Google AI as efficiently and reliably as possible.”

The meeting kit has Google grade security built-in, so the system automatically updates over-the-air. The system also works seamlessly with Google services and apps we already use. Its touch control display is powered by a single ethernet cable. From the admin controls, you can manage meeting lists and control room settings. Powered by assistant voice commands, their touch controller provides a “touchless touchability”; if you want to, you can join a meeting just by saying, “Hey Google, join the meeting.”

These new meeting kits are easy to install and are versatile. They can be configured to fit small, medium, and large-sized rooms. “Expanding kits for larger rooms can be done with just an ethernet cable and the tappable Mic Pod, which expands microphone reach and allows for mute/unmute control.”

According to the Google Meet Series One introductory video, the meeting room kits are “beautifully and thoughtfully designed to make video meetings approachable and immersive so everyone gets a seat at the table.”

Currently, there is no release date set for Google Meet Series One. However, pre-orders will soon be available in the US, Canada, Finland, France, Norway, Spain, Ireland, United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Netherlands, Denmark, and Belgium.

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Tech News

One creepy way law enforcement might have your private data

(TECH NEWS) Wait, geofences do what? Law enforcement can pull your private data if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Man walking on crosswalk with phone, but his private data could be vulnerable.

By now, it’s pretty common knowledge that our smartphones are tracking us, but what you might not be aware of is just how much law enforcement is taking advantage of our private data. Now, the good news is that some places have gotten wise to this breach of privacy and are banning certain tactics. The bad news is: If you were ever in the vicinity of a recent crime scene, it’s quite possible your privacy has already been invaded.

How are law enforcement doing this? Well, it starts with a geofence.

At its core, a geofence is a virtual border around a real geographic location. This can serve many purposes, from creating marketing opportunities for targeted ads to tracking shipping packages. In the case of law enforcement, though, geofences are often used in something called a geofence warrant.

Traditionally, warrants identify a subject first, then retrieve their electronic records. A geofence warrant, on the other hand, identifies a time and place and pulls electronic data from that area. If you’re thinking “hey, that sounds sketchy,” you are–forgive the pun–completely warranted.

With a geofence, law enforcement can dig through your private data, not because they have proof you were involved in a crime, but because you happened to be nearby.

This practice, though relatively new, is on the rise: Google reported a 15-fold increase in geofence warrant requests between 2017 and 2018. As well as invading privacy, these warrants have led to false arrests and can be used against peaceful protesters. Not to mention, in many cases, geofence warrants can be extremely easy to acquire. One report in Minnesota found judges signed off on these cases in under 4 minutes.

Thankfully, there have been signs of people pushing back against the use of geofence warrants. In fact, there have been multiple federal court rulings that find the practice in violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens from “unreasonable searches and seizures,” including your electronic data.

If you’re still worried about your privacy, there are ways to keep your electronic data on lock. For example, turn off your location services when you’re traveling, and avoid connecting to open Wi-Fi networks. You can also work to limit location sharing with apps and websites.

These and other tips can be a great way to help you avoid not just geofence warrants, but others who want to use your electronic information for their own gain.

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